5 Jack Stand Alternatives That Are Safe to Use

jack stand on a car

You’re halfway through your weekend car maintenance, but you can’t find your jack stands or realize they’re not suitable.

Whether due to limited reach, stability issues, or safety concerns, this is a common frustration.

If you’re searching for reliable alternatives to lift and support your vehicle safely, this guide will help you explore the best options available.

What Jack Stand Alternatives Should You NOT Use?

a person putting a thumbs down

Before anything else, let’s start with the options you definitely don’t want to put under your car. These are downright dangerous if you plan on relying on them.

Cinder Blocks

While seemingly sturdy, cinder blocks are not designed to support the heavy, concentrated loads of a vehicle.

They can crack or crumble under pressure, potentially causing the vehicle to collapse, which could lead to severe injuries or even fatalities.

Asphalt Surfaces for Jacking

Lifting a vehicle on asphalt, especially on a hot day, can be dangerous as the material can soften and allow jacks or jack stands to sink. This can destabilize the setup, increasing the risk of the vehicle toppling.

Improperly Rated Jacks and Stands

Using equipment that isn’t rated for the weight of your vehicle is extremely risky. Equipment should always meet or exceed the specific weight requirements of your vehicle to ensure stability and safety.

These alternatives not only compromise your safety but also the safety of those around you. Now that we’ve covered this section, let’s move on to the jack stand alternatives that YOU SHOULD use.

What are Good Jack Stand Alternatives to Use?

a mechanic giving a thumbs up

If you’re looking for reliable jack stand replacements for your repairs or maintenance, consider these options we’ve prepared for you below:

1. Hydraulic Lifts

These are more professional setups seen in auto repair shops. They offer a stable and elevated platform by using hydraulic power to lift the vehicle, making them suitable for extensive repairs and maintenance.

Pros:

  • Stability: Offers a very stable and secure platform for working under the vehicle.
  • Lift Height and Capacity: Capable of lifting vehicles much higher and handling more weight compared to other alternatives, which is ideal for extensive repairs.
  • Professional Quality: Often includes safety features and is designed for frequent, heavy-duty use.

Cons:

  • Cost: Generally much more expensive than other alternatives.
  • Space Requirements: Requires a significant amount of space in a garage or workshop; not suitable for compact spaces.
  • Installation: Installation can be complex and might require professional help, especially for ensuring the floor can support the lift.

2. Wheel Cribs

These are a safer and more stable alternative to jack stands. Wheel cribs elevate the car by supporting the tires, providing both lift and stability. They’re especially useful for vehicles with larger tires or for those who need a quick setup for routine checks or maintenance.

Pros:

  • Portability: Highly portable, making them easy to store and move around as needed.
  • Ease of Use: Simple to set up without needing any mechanical knowledge.
  • Versatility: Useful for a variety of ground conditions and limited spaces.

Cons:

  • Limited Lift Height: Does not provide as much height as lifts or jacks, which can restrict access to certain areas under the vehicle.
  • Stability Concerns: While stable, they don’t secure the vehicle as firmly as hydraulic lifts, which can be a concern during more intensive repairs.

TRY READING: I Hit a Curb and My Wheel is Bent

3. Mini Ramps

mini metal car ramp

These are low ramps designed to lift the front end of the car by its tires. While mini ramps are economical and suitable for minor auto maintenance like oil changes, they offer limited lift height—about six inches—restricting under-car access.

Pros:

  • Economical: Generally less expensive than full lifts.
  • Ease of Use: Simple to use as you just drive the vehicle onto them.
  • Compact Storage: Takes up less space than larger lifts when not in use.

Cons:

  • Limited Accessibility: Provides limited height, which may not be sufficient for more serious repair work.
  • Limited to Light Maintenance: Best suited for tasks such as oil changes and minor inspections.

ALSO CHECK: What are the Most Durable Curb Ramps Made From?

4. Commercial Grade 2 Post or 4 Post Lifts

These lifts offer more durability and safety than basic models and are ideal for serious auto enthusiasts or professional settings. However, they require significant space and a robust garage infrastructure, including a high ceiling and thick concrete flooring.

Pros:

  • Superior Stability and Safety: Offers professional-level stability and built-in safety features.
  • Full Vehicle Access: Allows complete access to the underside of the vehicle, ideal for serious maintenance and modifications.
  • Durability: Designed to withstand frequent use and heavier vehicles.

Cons:

  • High Cost: Much more expensive than simpler alternatives.
  • Space and Infrastructure Requirements: Needs a large space and specific installation conditions, like reinforced concrete.

5. Mid-Rise Scissor Jack

mini car scissor stand being applied on a car

For those seeking a portable and relatively affordable lifting solution, a mid-rise scissor jack offers an effective compromise. It provides enough lift for more comprehensive under-car work while being easier to set up and move than larger hydraulic lifts.

Pros:

  • Portability: More portable than full-sized lifts but more stable than simple jacks.
  • Moderate Lift Height: Provides a good balance of height for more extensive work without the bulk of larger lifts.
  • Ease of Setup: Relatively easy to set up and operate.

Cons:

  • Weight and Size: Heavier and bulkier than simpler alternatives like jack stands or wheel cribs.
  • Cost: More expensive than basic jacks or stands, though less than full lifts.

Each of these alternatives has its advantages and potential drawbacks.

When selecting an alternative to jack stands, consider your specific needs, the frequency of use, the type of maintenance you perform, and the space available in your garage.

Always prioritize safety and ensure that whatever solution you choose can adequately support the weight and distribution of your vehicle.

FAQs

Before ending our take on the topic of jack stand replacements, here are some questions we’ve addressed that you might have asked as we went through the list:

Can different types of vehicles require specific types of jack stand alternatives?

Yes, the weight and design of a vehicle can dictate the suitable type of lifting equipment. For instance, heavier vehicles may require more robust solutions like commercial-grade lifts, whereas smaller cars might be adequately supported by mini ramps or wheel cribs.

What are the best practices for positioning and stabilizing a vehicle on jack stand alternatives?

Always ensure the vehicle is on a flat, stable surface and that the equipment is correctly positioned under the vehicle’s designated lift points. Engage the parking brake and use wheel chocks to prevent the vehicle from rolling.

Can you use a driveway curb ramp as a jack stand alternative?

No, you should not use a driveway curb ramp as a jack stand alternative.

Driveway curb ramps are designed for easing the transition between different surface levels for vehicles, not for supporting a vehicle’s weight in a lifted position.

Using them as a jack stand can be unsafe as they offer neither the stability nor the secure locking mechanisms required for safely working under a vehicle.

TRY CHECKING: How to Choose a Driveway Curb Ramp Properly

Final Thoughts

Although it’s not an alternative to jack stands, our Smooth Curb – Driveway Curb Ramp ensures that you can safeguard your vehicle’s bottom while driving in and out of your driveway, keeping your car in good condition for any necessary maintenance.

Check out our blog for related topics such as ‘how to jack up a car without a jack‘, ‘driveway curb ramp alternatives‘, and more.

We hope we’ve helped you here on Smooth Curb with your query and that you’ve chosen a good jack stand replacement. Take care!